India deports American journalist who was making an environmental documentary on a controversial copper smelter plant


  • The Indian government has deported an American journalist, Mark Scialla, who was reportedly working on a documentary about a controversial Sterlite copper smelter plant in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin, citing violation of visa norms under The Foreigners Act.
  • According to media reports, Scialla had flown back to the US on Wednesday following a ‘Leave India Notice’ issued by the local police.
  • The Indian authorities in the process of blacklisting the journalist for violating visa conditions.
The Indian government on Wednesday deported an American journalist, Mark Scialla, who had been reportedly working on a documentary studying the health effects of the controversial Sterlite copper smelter plant in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin. The government cited violation of visa norms.

Specifically, it cited rules under its ‘Foreigners Act,’ which allows the Indian government certain powers in matters concerning foreigners in India.

The freelance journalist, had allegedly flown to India in the last week of December on a tourist visa, which stated that the American national should not engage in work.

According to media reports, Scialla had flown back to the US on Wednesday following a ‘Leave India Notice’ issued by local authorities, and was allowed 48 hours to leave.

He was also reportedly interrogated about whom he had filmed and interviewed. Additionally, according to media reports, the police also investigated other activists.

Taking matters further, the government is in the process of to blacklist the journalist for violating visa conditions. A representative from an US consulate, on being asked about the matter, reportedly said that they are aware of media reports but denied sharing any information on US citizens claiming ‘privacy laws.’

What is the sterlite issue?

The issue concerns Vedanta Ltd's Sterlite copper plant at Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, that faced violent protests due to the rising concerns of adverse environmental and health impacts of sterlite plant, the Tamil Nadu government had ordered the state control board to permanently shut the plant. But recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) green light to reopen the plant conditioning the government to spend ₹1 billion on community development.

However, the local state government has now filed in Supreme Court a case challenging NGT’s permit.

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